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Peter Woit

Is “string theory world” in some trouble?

Some of us think string theory only existed in order to give a bizarre twist to the fine-tuning of our universe and to create a basis for believing that there is an uncountable infinity of universes out there instead. Apart from that, it may be hard to see much point. We shall see. Read More ›

Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit offers a shrewd assessment of Stephen Hawking and pop physics

Hawking was looking for a unified theory and Woit thinks the idea is pretty much discredited now: "We now live in an environment where the idea that there may be a deeper, more unified theory has become completely discredited, through the efforts of many, with Hawking playing an unfortunate part." Read More ›

String theory skeptic Peter Woit reflects on Stephen Hawking

Peter Woit on Hawking's 2010 The Grand Design, co-written with Leonard Mlodinow: " I wrote about this book in some detail here. Put bluntly, it was an atrocious rehash of the worst nonsense about M-theory and the string theory landscape, with an argument for atheism thrown in to get more public attention. This is the sort of thing that has done a huge amount of damage to both the public understanding of fundamental physics, and even to the field itself." Read More ›

Peter Woit, whom we sometimes follow because he is fun, looks back on string theory

He doesn’t seem to get the fact that string theory was a religious movement that was bound to end badly. The most distressing victim is science. But then that was well before the war on math, wasn’t it? Read More ›

At Quanta: Are we looking at the end of physics?

Ah yes, the problem of dead-endedness that Sabine Hossenfelder often writes about. As does Columbia mathematician Peter Woit, on the subject of string theory. But surely much of the nonsense around string theory and the multiverse is in part due to a practical failure—the inability to find even a single particle of dark matter or similar evidence for dark energy. Read More ›

Rob Sheldon responds to Sabine Hossenfelder on the hologram universe

Sheldon: ... it isn't just HEP theory, it is large swathes of all the sciences. They have painted themselves into a sterile, but formerly well-funded "consensus" corner, and are discovering that the younger generation (and the NYT) is quite flippant on their prospects for survival. Read More ›

Have quantum physics’ problems been disgracefully swept under the carpet?

Possibly, but maybe it’s inherently fuzzy. Meanwhile, an update on Adam Becker’s attack on Inference Review as an ID-friendly rag; Peter Woit and Sabine Hossenfelder weigh in. Read More ›

Are we reaching fundamental limits on building large particle colliders?

Peter Woit doesn’t want to give up but he makes it clear that the options are narrow and expensive. Perhaps we are entering a period of decline when cosmology is about the multiverse rather than the Higgs boson. Read More ›

A skeptic’s take on the latest multiverse hype at New Scientist

From Columbia mathematician Peter Woit at Not Even Wrong: New Scientist today has a feature article headlined How to think about… The multiverse The idea of an infinite multitude of universes is forced on us by physics. It starts off quoting Sean Carroll: “One of the most common misconceptions is that the multiverse is a hypothesis,” says Sean Carroll at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In fact, it is forced upon us.”It is a prediction of theories we have good reason to think are correct.” The problem with this claim is that it’s simply not true. There is no model that “we have good reason to think [is] correct” that predicts a multiverse of universes with different physics Read More ›